How to Use the Degree you have to Get into Teaching

Most likely, you already have completed your bachelors if you’re reading this. After investing time and money into acquiring the degree, comes realization. You don’t think you want to continue down this path. And then something makes you see that teaching is something you want to get into. If only you had a degree in education, you think sadly. Well, we can tell you that there are ways you can use the degree you have to get into this field!

Nonplussed about your career choices? Are You on the Right Career Path? Ask Yourself These Key Questions.

Let’s begin by looking at different alternative ways to obtain a degree suited to the profession of education:

Alternative Teaching Degrees

Such certification programs give individuals who have work experience in other fields a chance to switch to teaching. They’re also great for those wanting to advance their careers in education but can’t – or don’t want to – return to school full-time. Choose one that will let you become eligible for the classroom. Prospective teachers can pick a straightforward certification. It’s better than dealing with more delays by pursuing a post-baccalaureate degree. In short, these certifications allow you to enter the classroom quickly. Also, they come at a lower price point!

While we’ll discuss several alternative ways below, they all have something in common. All of them will work according to the state’s requirements. Therefore, don’t get started before you find out about these mandatory rules.

Even so, you’ll find that the coursework is similar in many states. Generally, a program like that goes something like this:

  1. Complete the certification teacher program
  2. Go for the provisional teaching certificate, so you can fulfill the supervised teacher requirements
  3. Clear the prospective educator exam in your state
  4. Get the full teaching certificate

Now, let us determine which alternative is best for you:

Formal Alternative Teaching Preparation Program

These are available in nearly every state and are also called university-based programs. An educator takes the traditional four-year-long degree route. In the same way, you’d attend a teacher preparation program.

Transition to Teaching

Additionally, you may discover other certifications on national and regional levels, such as:

  1. American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)
  2. Teach for America
  3. TNTP Teaching Fellows
  4. Chicago’s Academy for Urban School Leadership
  5. New York City Teaching Fellows
  6. Mississippi Teacher Corps
  7. Arkansas Teacher Corps

Complete these, so you can focus on Finding the Sweet Spot Between Your Passion & Job Security. Thus, earn well while also exercising your passion!


Also known as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which is a non-profit organization. They can be a way for accomplished educators to get a certification, as well. Many states, like Alabama and New Hampshire, respect the NBPTS certification. They consider it an alternative route to a career in education.


Or, career and technical education certifications are also available in the fields of agriculture, health sciences, business, and information technology. If you spot the terms, vocational, technical professional, occupational, or career tech teachers in a similar context, they refer to CTE. Your state may allow you to use your previous accomplishments as stand-ins for requirements for a bachelor degree. By that, we mean academic details and work experience.

Emergency and Provisional Certificates

They’re also called limited, emergency, or provisional licenses. They are a good choice if you live in one of the states where there is a severe shortage of teachers who can capably instruct in STEM subject areas. Low-income school districts also benefit from prospective teachers with these certificates.

In a way, the state will allow you to teach without enrolling in a program. That is, if you can demonstrate deep knowledge in a particular subject area. Although there are downsides to this too, which are:

  1. Functional for limited durations, such as for only one school year
  2. Non-renewable
  3. Does not lead to full licensure

An exception to this would be a state that allows a portfolio evaluation – but we discuss that in detail below. In any case, through portfolio evaluation, an individual can use a limited license to launch their career in education.

In-District Training

A much less common route, this also ends in the acquisition of an alternative teaching certificate. Some states let teachers train within a school district or ply them with supplemental coursework. In both cases, the individual in question completes the training/coursework in lieu of a teacher prep program. Currently, Delaware, South Carolina, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Maine, and Mississippi, offer this option.

Equivalency and Portfolio Evaluations

Where offered, such as in Wisconsin, Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Nevada, another teaching pathway is available to aspiring teachers. With equivalency, you can substitute experience in teaching that doesn’t require licensing to complete your professional teacher preparation requirements.

For portfolio evaluations, educators must meet state standards. As proof, they must be able to:

  1. Demonstrate their teaching skills by submitting a written work portfolio in a particular subject
  2. Have substantial teaching experience
  3. Don’t have to be teacher preparation program graduates

Places that give licensure by evaluating portfolios of prospective teachers include New Mexico, Maryland, Vermont, and Minnesota. Mostly, the state will follow the same steps that are part of the teaching by equivalency route. The only addition to it is that they ask you to submit a formal portfolio when you apply for your teaching certificate.

Finally, regardless of which alternative option you go for, we have one recommendation. Speak to your local teaching body about what it involves. Since each territory comes with their own Teacher Registration Authority, they’re the right experts to go to for guidance. Thus, they will know which programs you’re eligible for and the certifications available within your specific territory.

Don’t fancy getting into the field of education? Then we have 6 Careers Worth Going Back to School for you. Can’t find the profession that has your heart on the list? Get in touch, and we can find the right fit for you together!

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